The Great North Beach Bread War
In 1890s San Francisco there was a great rivalry in North Beach between the city's Italian bakeries and French bakeries So when a huge shipment of wheat from Port Costa arrived in 1896, the price of bread dropped and the Italian bakeries saw a chance to deal a decisive blow to their competitors. A. Calderoni on Union Street cut his prices in half and urged the other Italian bakeries to do the same.

In response Emile Perrin on Montgomery Avenue enlarged his loaves to nine-pounds. His countryman Henrique Rosseau created loaves that contained a whopping two cubic feet of bread, each. In addition he claimed the French bread to be superior and more healthy, not like that thick-crusted Italian stuff. Outraged S. Paganini responded, "Our bread retains its freshness for a longer period and is not ungainly to handle as are the long, narrow loaves which the French bakers turn out, which to my mind spoil one's teeth and are very bad for children"

By the end of the madness five cents would buy more bread than a person could carry home in one trip. So who won the Great North Beach Bread War? Over one hundred and ten years later both French and Italian Sourdough are being served at San Francisco bakeries like Boudin's shown above. But for my part I've got to go with the crusty Italian loaves.
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